During the revolutionary tumult earlier this summer, the Iranian authorities jailed a swathe of journalists and filmmakers, among them, the talented documentary maker and playwright Maziar Bahari. A Canadian citizen, he lived with his wife, Paola Gourley in London. She is seven months pregnant with their first child.
Beginning with The Voyage of St. Louis -- the story of over 900 German Jewish refugees and their doomed search for asylum in the Americas -- he has made films on diverse topics including AIDS in Iran and Africa, the Iranian revolution, the 1953 coup, the US occupation of Iraq and football.
He was reporting on the Iranian elections for Newsweek International when he was arrested and imprisoned on June 21st. Accused of endangering Iranian national security, he has been formally charged with nothing to date and is denied access to a lawyer and contact with his family -- save the briefest conversation with his mother.
Following the opening of a mass show-trial of detainees, the Iranian state media have reported that Maziar has confessed to trying to overthrow the government, and you don't need me to speculate how that statement was likely procured.
While the Canadian government is pursuing quiet diplomacy, Maziar's family and employers have decided it is in his interest to make their demands public and they are asking people like you to sign a petition for his release. His wife made a particularly poignant and dignified request for help on the Rachel Maddow Show, and I strongly encourage you to watch the clip.
So far the petition has just over 8,000 signatures. It's really quick and you can stay anonymous. If hundreds of readers here sign and pass on the word, you can really boost that number and hopefully make a difference, right now. What are you waiting for?